Five of the Greatest Joys and Difficulties in Being in a Traveling Worship Band
This weekend, we're headed to Texas. And in the midst of the packing and preparing I began to think about everything that comes along with what we get to do for a living; the good and the bad. So, I decided to take a few moments to jot down some of the things we get to celebrate as a result of this band, as well as the difficult areas we have to carefully navigate. Lets kick things off on a high note:
1. Getting a more holistic picture of the church in America.
Throughout the last 5 years, we have been able to visit hundreds of churches with every age group, social status, nationality, and denomination. And, as we visit each one, the Holy Spirit uses each community to deepen our understanding of how He is moving across America. God also shows us deeper glimpses into His character, as we see the beauty of such diverse congregations all with the same heart to advance God’s Kingdom.
2. Meeting incredible people & visiting beautiful places.
With each city we visit, we make it a point to make ourselves open and available to honest conversation. And, as a result, we have been able to make lifelong friends all over the nation. Whether pastors, families that open there homes to us, or volunteers at an event, we love adding people to our ever growing catalog of the “FAS Family.” So that way, when being away from home becomes tiring, we know we still have people that will invest in us, as we mutually invest back into them. We’ve also been able to see some pretty beautiful places during our travels; places we would have probably never visited on our own. It’s amazing.
3. Getting to do what we love for a living.
Considering that a lot of the world couldn’t put themselves in this category, we can only be grateful for this specific joy. Thank you Jesus that You allow us to make music, share it with people, AND be able to pay the bills in the process. Every day, as we encounter many people who are unhappy or unsettled in their current vocation, we can only give glory to God.
4. Watching God do miracles in the midst of our lacking.
This ministry requires a lot to keep the wheels turning. And with each year that passes, we are reminded that God is the one that has the final say on when this ministry ends. Because, in the situations that seem hopeless, in the times where it seems like things may self implode: He comes through. On the days where we are worn out by our own anxiety, when we are unsure about how the bills are going to be paid: He comes through. AND, even in the moments where we are completely unaware of our needs, He comes through and shows us that He has an ultimate plan for where this ministry will go. We have been able to learn so much about what it means to truly trust God, and we’ll hold those lessons close for they rest of our lives.
5. Seeing people encounter Jesus in a personal and powerful way.
This one takes the cake. There is nothing like watching people be transformed by the Holy Spirit and grow in their understanding of who Jesus is and why He loves them. Whether through an email, or conversation after a show, God is constantly blowing us away with stories of how He chooses to use our ministry to draw more people to himself.
1. Inconsistency in community and friendships.
We’ve really had to learn how to manage our friendships. Because we are away from home 75% of the year, we have learned the art of “the planner.” Coffee dates must be prearranged weeks in advance and it can be hard to keep up on daily communication with friends when we see each other so sparingly. Thank God, He blessed us with friends who still “see” us and want to invest in us. But, its easy to quickly compare our inconsistent situation with those who are a part of each other daily lives when at a big social gathering.
2. We miss home.
This doesn’t take much explaining. Plain and simple, we miss home from time to time. The comforts of our own bed, the ability to cook a home meal, being familiar with your surroundings; we miss all those things and more from time to time.
3. Being involved in a local church.
This is one of the most frequent questions we are asked: What church are you all a part of? The truth is, other than attending a church near our homes 5-6 times are year, we technically are not. I mean, we are always AT churches. In fact, we are probably IN a church building 2-4 times a week. But there is something about being involved in our own local community that we miss. However, we know that God has called us to this specific season of life, AND that is confirmed as He brings people into our paths who love, encourage, and challenge us just as members of your local church would. Things just look a little different for us right now, but in the process we are learning that the true heartbeat of a local church is community; seeking God TOGETHER and pushing one another towards living a life of holiness through prayer and studying God’s word. That is something we find in one another, as well as through the amazing people we meet in our travels.
4. Missing the big life events (birthdays, weddings, etc) of close friends and family.
The last 5 years have FLOWN by, and with every chunk of time we’re gone, we are faced with the reality that life continues to move without us. Mothers Day comes and goes, birthdays are celebrated, friends get married, babies are born… and we miss most of it. Now, lets first say that we have some of the greatest friends and family around, so they never make us feel guilty about not being there. They believe in our ministry and understand the sacrifice we are making. But, as a group that wants to be considered loyal and supportive of our friends, it can be so hard to miss those big life events.
5. Feeling pressured to live up to peoples’ standard of success
We had to face this difficulty head on right at the start of our ministry. Being self-employed and playing music, while also making a living seemed unattainable to a lot of the people around us. It even took some of our closest friends and family a little time to come around initially. This culture has painted pictures of what it means to be successful, and by those standards what we were doing didn't exactly line up. But, just like a pastor or missionary, we knew that the “success” God was calling us to had to be kingdom focused. Yes, our music could spread nationally, and we could get payed money to come and lead people in worship, but if our success was not based on the call God put in our hearts to see people come to Him, it would all be worthless. And now, with each move we take forward, we still have to deal with these questions and insecurities bouncing around in our heads. The industry can pressure us to attain something “tangible” and the California culture can make us feel uncomfortable for not working the regular “9 to 5.” But, we must stand firm in the goal God has placed on our hearts and minds: Reach people for Me.
Our hope in sharing this post with you all, is that you would be able to see a little more clearly who we are. And, that you would be able to understand a little more that being “in a band” isn’t always “fun.” It can be difficult, BUT it’s so worth it. Every moment that we are faced with a difficulty, we remind ourselves of the ever-growing list of joys we find through it all. We also have to remind ourselves that this band isn’t about us; it isn’t about OUR happiness and OUR success. It is about Jesus. No matter what he calls us to, difficult or exciting, the cost could never compare to the eternal and kingdom-minded work we get to be a part of: seeing the lost be found.